OTTAWA - Just a week after he quit the federal NDP caucus, it sounds like Ontario MP Bruce Hyer might want back in.
Hyer announced last Monday that he would sit as an Independent, citing what he called "lock-step discipline" under new leader party Tom Mulcair.
The Thunder Bay, Ont., MP went out with a blaze of publicity, telling reporters that his failure to be named to Mulcair's shadow cabinet showed he was being punished and muzzled for voting with the Conservatives to kill the federal long gun registry.
"I didn't come here to be a trained seal," Hyer told The Canadian Press last week.
But in a lengthy letter over the weekend to his northern Ontario constituency association's annual general meeting, Hyer says he's still a New Democrat and he's willing to reconsider his decision and to apologize.
"I want to clarify that I have not left the NDP, but rather the NDP caucus in the Parliament," says the letter obtained by The Canadian Press.
"I remain committed to 95 per cent of the NDP party platform. I will be voting with them ... with you ... MOST of the time."
Hyer's defection has caused a considerable stir in his riding association and about 60 people attended Saturday night's two-hour annual meeting where the letter was circulated. Hyer himself did not attend the meeting.
"Many people have asked me if I am willing to reconsider my decision," said Hyer's letter.
"I am willing to do that: to apologize, to accept MOST party discipline and drudgery, and I am willing to ask the riding association and Mr. Mulcair to let me resume my NDP seat."
Nonetheless, Hyer defended the independent voices he wrote are needed within the NDP to represent northern and rural constituents, and made it clear he does not like whipped votes in which all MPs are compelled to toe the party line.
"I urge that some sensitivity and flexibility is crucial," said the letter.
A spokesman in Mulcair's office was unaware of Hyer's letter and said the MP did not speak to the NDP leader before he quit last week and hasn't approached Mulcair about returning.
Hyer could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hyer's departure leaves the NDP with 101 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons. The governing Conservatives have 165 seats, the Liberals 35, there are four Bloc, one Green and two Independents.